WASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 6, 2010) -- New Army recruits with skills critical to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are eligible for bonuses, educational help and other incentives if they enlist to serve in the Army's most under-manned jobs.

Incentives include average bonuses of up to $20,000 for a six-year active-duty enlistment for the most in-demand occupations. Perks such as student loan repayment and the Army college fund can also be offered for the 14 most critical military occupational specialties, or MOSs.

"It's supply and demand," said Jerry Pionk, chief of Enlisted Incentives Branch for Army G-1.

Pionk explained that recruiting quotas take into consideration the difficulty of each job's training. If a job's Advanced Individual Training school is characteristically tough or has stringent qualifications such as a top-secret clearance, the Army will have to recruit harder, knowing that not all Soldiers interested will make the cut.

"If all of a sudden we are recruiting real well, and retaining well, then we will focus bonus money elsewhere," Pionk continued. Recruiting and retention numbers are evaluated and adjusted quarterly, and MOSs are accordingly moved on and off the "critical" list, he said.

However, Pionk said the current most incentivized Army jobs have traditionally been hard to fill.

Native language translators, 09L; air defense tactical operations center operators, 14J; satellite communication systems operator-maintainers, 25S; cryptologic linguists, 35P; and explosive ordnance disposal Soldiers, 89D, are the Army's current top five most in-demand occupations.

Other in-demand MOSs include:

Aca,!Ac Microwave systems operator-maintainers (25P)

Aca,!Ac Field artillery automated tactical data system specialists (13D)

Aca,!Ac Fire support specialists (13F)

Aca,!Ac Firefinder radar operators (13R)

Aca,!Ac Multichannel transmission systems operator-maintainers (25Q)

Aca,!Ac Visual information equipment operator-maintainers (25R)

Aca,!Ac Paralegal specialists (27D)

Aca,!Ac Land combat electronic missile system repairers (94A)

Aca,!Ac Radio and communications security repairers (94E)

"An incentive is designed to shape someone's actions," said Lt. Col. Mark Russo, chief of Army Human Resources Command's Enlisted Personnel Management Directorate Accessions Branch. "If that action is already shaped without the need of an incentive, we might not incentivize them."

Russo explained that many Army jobs which need high enlistment numbers already meet their quotas without the addition of incentives. For example, for 2010, the Army will need to recruit about 14,000 active-duty infantrymen, but not much in the way of extra perks is offered an infantry recruit, because he has so much competition.

"Some high-demand MOSs that the Army requires in large numbers are not given bonuses or incentivized at all because there are folks out there that want that job," said Russo.

Jim Bragg, the retention and re-classification branch chief at Army Human Resources Command, said there are also several in-demand jobs within the Army that are only offered for current Soldiers. Eligible Soldiers are also offered incentives to pursue a new MOS in some of these career fields.

"We have a couple MOSs that we're having a very difficult time filling, which may offer Soldiers a better promotion opportunity," said Bragg. "We need qualified individuals to step forward and come do those jobs."

Electromagnetic spectrum managers and counterintelligence agents are among the top in-service MOSs that need to be filled from within the ranks. Soldiers can contact their career counselor or retention representative to learn more about in-service jobs.

The Army has offered enlistment bonuses since 1973, when the Gates Commission ended the draft and the military became an all-volunteer force.